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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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a few weeks previously the " strong forces of American planes had flown
over Warsaw in daylight without losing a single one."
Such were the formal reasons given in August for the ceasing of any
aid for the Polish capital. Fighting and dying by the thousands ^ under the
overwhelming supremacy of German artillery and air bombardment^
the people of Warsaw could find nothing to say.
"Half of our men/* said the spokesman on the Warsaw radio on August
24j " are unarmed, cannot they be supplied with weapons ? We understand
there are difficulties regarding transport, but cannot these be overcome ?
But what of these obstacles ? How was it that the Polish squadronss who
had formed twenty-five per cent, of the British Bomber Command in 19415
could operate^with the R.A.F.3 that Polish pilots could light over London,
but were forbidden to fight over Warsaw or carry supplies to their capital ? "
The British Government evidently did not achieve any success in its
attempt to gain the co-operation of the Soviets and organise some help
for the Polish capital. Moscow's attitude was that Warsaw should be
punished. And the Allies had no wish to go against the intentions of
Moscow in this instance. It proved to be the unique occasion when
Churchill's reiterated formula that Britain was helping everyone in their
fight against the * Hun ' was not applied. Thus Warsaw was condemned
to death before the eyes of the Soviet Armies of4 liberation/ and in spite
of the immense air armada of the Allies.
On August 285 the first Russian plane which appeared in the sky over
Warsaw dropped leaflets . . . calling on the Germans to surrender.
An incisive picture of the battle in the Polish capital was given in the
Times on August 30. The description came from ... a British airman
(Lt. John Ward, of Birmingham) who escaped from German hands many
months ago and had since been living in Underground Poland :—
" It is a battle which is carried on as much by civil population as by troops
of the Home Army.
" Warsaw to-day is in a state of total warfare. Almost every street in
the city has been a field of battle for the past 24 days. The enemy mine-
throwers, artillery, and aircraft are taking a heavy toll of human life, the
damage of property is incalculable. Practically the whole population is
engaged in some sort of public duty. Thousands of people have been
mobilised to put out the fires raging in many parts by day and night.
Thousands more are engaged in clearing debris from the streets which are
in the hands of the Home Army. Others are acting as couriers, field tele-
phone workers, and in the Red Cross . . .
" The actual army—that is to say, the Home Army—is a queer mixture.
Fighting in it are young boys of 16 years and old men of 70 years. Few
have regular weapons to carry. They range from small automatic pistols
to rifles. There are also some few heavy machine-guns, but these are only
used in emergency, as they need too much ammunition. Former colonels
are fighting as soldiers under the command of young lieutenants.
cc Weapons are being improvised. Hand grenades have been made from
old gas pipes filled with some explosive mixture. These grenades are lit
with an ordinary match before being thrown. Flame-throwers are in use